We have been here at the hospital for a week. Our family has been in one single room together pretty much non-stop for those 7 days.
We went in to our pediatrician last Tuesday thinking that he may have had an ear infection, but things went downhill as soon as the nurse took us back.
The nurse and doctor went into emergency mode and immediately got him on a breathing treatment and bombarded me with questions of the past 48 hours.
I immediately burst into tears because I had this immense guilt that I had missed something and now they were telling me that he needed to go to the ER.
I could feel my mommy card being pulled because I should have known something was wrong sooner. I was laying on the self-blame pretty thick.
(You should note that I had taken him to the doctor on the Sunday, two days before, so this thought was irrational. They had confirmed he had no fever and had tested him for strep which came back negative and sent us on our way with a cream to deal with his rash they had said was eczema.)
But the guilt settled in as I sumo held George down to get the 10 minute breathing treatment done. Tears streamed down my face onto his little head.
Then they sent us to the ER where we hoped they would release us after some observation.
Unfortunately that was a pipe dream. He just wasn’t getting the oxygen he needed.
I watched 5 people (grown adults) try to wrestle my 18 month old to put in an IV three times.
I watched them tape a cannula to his face so he can get 20 ml of oxygen pumped into his little body.
I watched as my Georgieman screamed when any medical professional entered the room.
I cried for hours last Tuesday as things were happening to George and there was absolutely nothing I can do besides hold him close. I felt lost and hopeless watching him in agony.
I know that none of this is my fault, but as a parent you take on the pain that your kids are enduring. It feels like a ton of bricks is added to your load as you try to wrack your brain with what you could have done differently to prevent this from happening. You want to fix it and you can’t.
Then you are snapped back to reality when the doctors say he will be here for a few days.
What does that mean?
- How is he treated?
- What do we need to do?
- Do we still go to work?
- How often does the staff check on him?
- Who is going to watch the dogs?
- How much money is this going to cost us?
- You say jump? I’ll say how high.
The few days have turned into a week and looking at starting the second.
Your world turns into these four walls. You feel like a caged animal, especially with the leash (wires/sensors) around your kid and the glass wall and a toilet exposed in the room. Normal is a weird concept that you have lost a grip on. You have no sense of time or weather, it’s like you are stuck on a continuous loop here in the hospital bed.
You feel exhausted from trying to keep a toddler from ripping out wires and tubes in his sleep or awakeness for that matter. Someone has to be holding on to him 24/7 otherwise some vital medical instrument will be taken off by those toddler hands. You feel worthless that your life has whittled down to what the next meal is and what can we do in this hospital bed to keep George happy (the answer is very little).
Your body starts to hate you back from eating fast food for a week and the awful sleep between the constant interruptions of the nurses or beeping alarms or just the fear that he has stopped breathing jolting you awake. Not to mention sleeping with a hot sweaty toddler in a hospital bed is not the most comfortable thing to start with.
But the other thing that this room would say is how beautiful life and love can be. We have seen our family and friends jump to our rescue to help out in so many ways. George has had our attention 24/7, which I am sure he is loving. Tom and I actually watched a couple seasons of Parks and Rec and had a “date night” with George asleep in our arms. I am reminded how smart and amazing George is as we play legos on the hospital floor and as he explores his limited terrain. Tom and I were both reminded how lucky we are with our jobs after seeing how supportive they are with our absence.
We have seen a community come together in a beautiful way. I am humbled by the outpouring of support from family and friends old and new. The thoughts of some of the things we have seen and been given brings me to tears. There really are great people in this world, and we are fortunate to be surrounded by many of them.
And then to see the medical staff become a community for us here. They have played with us, danced with us, and comforted us all (especially me when I was a hot blubbering mess of a mom). George has become kind of famous, and we have seen staff come back even when they are no longer assigned to us to wave and dance with him. Also did you know that it is people’s jobs to come and play and sing to these sick kids? “Life Specialists” came around with a cart full of toys and instruments! (If Higher Ed doesn’t work out, I found my next calling!) To see so many people cheering him on in his recovery is heartwarming. Again, good people.
Finally, I am reminded how lucky I am to have Tom as my partner. He dropped everything this last week including some coveted overtime shifts to be here non-stop. He comforted me when I felt so hopeless and interpreted my needs. He has a knack for shifting a sleeping George from off my chest on to the bed without George waking up. He supported my decision to go back to work for a few hours to regain some normalcy.. He took on the brunt of dealing with the dogs, although I think this was all a ploy to get to pee in private. With someone having to be on George constantly, I have no clue how either of us would have done this solo. I am glad that he was here to be my person.
While this week has sucked on so many levels, it has reminded me that we have so much to be eternally grateful for and to have faith in God’s plan for us.
As for an update on Gdubs:
He was diagnosed with a couple viruses and an ear infection. The viruses overtook his lungs and made it extremely difficult to breath. He started out on 20 mL of oxygen and they have to wean him slowly off. We didn’t move more than 5 mL any day, but usually not more than 3 most days. He did have an IV initially, but that was removed when his appetite came roaring back. He also had to have his nose sucked out a couple times a day for all the mucus that collected, but no pneumonia.
Fun fact, when they did the chest x-ray they told us that his heart and stomach were on the wrong side of his body. Tom and I were floored especially since he had his heart scanned so many times before he was 6 months old due to his development delay from being born early. Come to find out they labeled the x-ray wrong, but for a day we thought George was an anomaly.
Anyway, we were moved off the ICU floor last night. Then, he was weaned off the oxygen just this evening! They have said that he needs to be off and breathing just room air for 24 hours before they release him. So hopefully we will go home tomorrow, but sleeping tonight will be the true test of whether he is ready or not.
Thank you so much for the thoughts and prayers headed our direction this last week. Hopefully we will break out of this joint here soon and can return to our life outside these walls.